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Helping the Homeless
Photo: Leroy Skalstad
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has joined leaders of at least 285 communities in taking positive steps to end, or at least to radically reduce, the number of homeless within a decade.

In 2004, Mayor Bloomberg announced the goal of reducing the number of homeless by two-thirds by 2009. During January, cities across the U.S. are conducting a biennial count of those who are living on the street. According to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, an average of more than two million Americans experience homelessness every year.

New Type of Shelter

The January 24, 2007, USA Today focused on the issue of homelessness, including the description of a new type of shelter that is part of New York City’s strategy for reducing homelessness. Safe Haven is a new kind of shelter. For the first time, people seeking shelter do not have to give up alcohol or drugs. Neither is there a curfew. It is just one step that the city is taking to decrease the amount of homelessness.

According to USA Today, “In June 2004, when Mayor Bloomberg declared his five-year goal, more than 38,000 men, women, and children lived in shelters and more than 4,200 lived on New York’s streets, says Robert Hess, commissioner of the city’s Department of Homeless Services.

“The number of families living in shelters rose to 9,111 in December (2006) from 8,798 in June 2004. From 2005-2006, the number of homeless living on the streets dropped 13% to 3,843. More than 10,000 leases have been signed since 2004, enabling homeless families to move into their own apartments. . . .New York plans 12,000 more units of housing by 2015.”

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